and she saw that it was good: curated by nadia bijl

May 16 - Jun 30, 2019
KETELEER GALLERY is pleased to invite you to the new group exhibition, curated by Nadia Bijl in our NEXT DOOR space with Elly Strik (°1961, NL), Ingeborg Lüscher (°1936, CH), Sandra Vásquez de la Horra (°1967, CHL)
Press release

A text by Nadia Bijl.

Following the exhibition Girls Next Door, one year ago, I once again invited three female artists to exhibit their works at NEXT DOOR | KETELEER Gallery. In this exhibition, And She Saw That It Was Good, brings together works by Ingeborg Lüscher, Elly Strik and Sandra Vásquez de la Horra. Three personalities who take part in the international art circuit.

The exhibition’s title And She Saw That It Was Good was taken from one of Elly Strik’s recent sequences, also included in the exhibition. The work consists of 5 parts, which are presented on a stone-grey wall. The five parts try to bring the creation process near our being, by highlighting the viewing process itself. We see a floating human eye in a cosmic surrounding; geometric shapes reminiscent of diaphragms; colourful organic forms born from magnetically charged fields. They look like spaces where gravity has been lifted. By looking at the works, the shapes nestle upon the viewer’s retina. This way of looking is made tangible as a self-unfolding element. Because of this, looking can constantly start anew and thus unify with the creation process. This process of creation, genesis, fertility, life and death is the motif throughout the exhibition – and for all three artists, these have been recurring themes throughout their oeuvres.

The works of Elly Strik (°1961, The Hague, The Netherlands. Lives and works in Brussels, Belgium) are testament to the profound quest for the essence of human condition. She works with paint, lacquer and graphite on paper. She paints with pencil and draws with paint. This results in – both in subject as drawing skills – intense images which expose the essence of drawing. Outward-looking and inward-looking unite. In this vibration, the work creates itself.
In addition to And She Saw That It Was Good we chose the work The Bell Jar (2011) after the iconic novel by Sylvia Plath. In The Bell Jar by Elly Strik the drawing of the concealment, a light lace cloth, depicted as frost flowers, sheer and fragile, merges with the underlying energy. In the vacuum thus emerged, Strik tries to penetrate the impenetrable, capture the place in which we find ourselves. It’s as if the ruins of our existence are brought up to the surface as a visible breath.
In the work Collective Twinge (2019) she places, under the painted image and within the frame, a yellow mummified apple. This ready-made apple looks like a treasure washed ashore. By doing this she literally joins multiple realities and gives the old-age myth of seduction and knowledge a transformative twist.
In her work, Elly Strik reflects on the potential of metamorphosis. All the shapes that appear throughout her works are energetically charged by her intense and poetic approach and evolve into states of Being. The interplay of monumentality and intimacy creates an open experience of reality in which macro- and micro cosmos meet in various ways.

Ingeborg Lüscher (°1936, Freiberg, Germany. Lives and works in Tegna, Switzerland) applies an entirely different strategy to approaching the creation theme. The works that are shown in this exhibition are from the 1980s, 90s and one more recent work from 2014: 300 Million Years. This latest piece is a series of 16 pictures in which Lüscher captures a yellow-green mossy plant growing on black-grey rocks. We selected two photographs for the exhibition. This work portrays the strength and beauty of the seemingly futile which has the power to evoke an association with the macro cosmos. This recent work can be linked directly to the series of abstract, minimalist sculptures and paintings in which the artist uses bright yellow brimstone and ebony black ashes combined with black acrylic paint. The two colours serve as metaphors for the unity of the seemingly opposing natures of light and darkness / life and death.

Topics such as love and eros, death and birth and dreams are a common thread throughout her extensive oeuvre combining autobiographical honesty with the joy for the richness of life and its multiple experience levels. She has, for instance, since 1976, been working on a series of photographs, Magician Photos, for which she invited by now more than 500 artists, colleagues, neighbours and friends “to do magic”. Her daughter, the neighbour, but also Pipilotti Rist, Jonathan Borofsky, Paul Thek and Andy Warhol and many more perform a – what is in that moment and for them – magic act which is captured by Ingeborg Lüscher in nine black and white photographic stills.
Lastly, this exhibition is also showing Lüscher’s re~ (1979). For this work, consisting of 12 photographs, Lüscher did a few experiments while under hypnosis, intended to provoke a mental image of memories of previous incarnations, which she presents in this cycle of self-portraits.

Sandra Vásquez de la Horra (°1967, Viña del Mar, Chili. Lives and Works in Berlin, Germany) tells her stories by means of drawings, which can be either two-dimensional or three-dimensional in shape. A typical element in her work is drenching her drawings in wax after completion. This extra layer of materiality functions as a kind of skin; offering protection while at the same time adding a heightened sensitivity. The colour nuances that emerge in the layer of wax, give each piece a unique individuality. In her symbolically laden works, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra combines research, memory, dreams and imagination. She creates her own cosmology in which future and past unite and life and death meet.
In Vásquez de la Horra’s scenes we see human figures with pronounced facial expressions and gestures, mythological creatures and animals. These creatures are found in landscapes or become a landscape, as in her recent work Durmientes (2019), shown in this exhibition. In this work, consisting of three irregular fan folds, three sleeping women are represented whose bodies form a mountain range.
Sandra Vásquez de la Horra’s oeuvre is permeated with political and societal reflections. She grew up under dictator Pinochet’s reign. Traumas associated with this regime can sometimes be recognized in her drawings. In her works she often tries to counter this horror with irony.
At a young age Sandra Vásquez de la Horra moved to Germany to study at the academy. As a Spanish native speaker, in a new homeland, she looked for a way to express herself through drawing. For a long time she didn’t consider these drawings, her current medium, as part of her oeuvre, until a friend of hers pointed out how special they were.